Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade: Who is Stefan Selig?
On November 6, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated mergers and acquisition specialist Stefan M. Selig to be his under secretary of Commerce for International Trade and head the International Trade Administration. President Obama was forced to renominate Selig on January 6, 2014, because his nomination had not been acted upon by the U.S. Senate by the end of the year. In that post, Selig will be promoting U.S. trade interests, including ensuring access to foreign markets and enforcing fair-trade legislation.
Selig was born in New York and grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He attended the Dalton School, graduating in 1980. Selig went to Wesleyan University in Connecticut as an undergraduate, earning his B.A. in 1984.
Upon graduation, Selig briefly considered making the Marine Corps his career, but went into business instead, joining First Boston in the mergers and acquisitions department. He also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1988, and joined the investment bank Wasserstein Perella &Co. that year as an original member. He then became a partner at Berenson Minella & Co., an investment banking boutique, where he organized several high-profile buyouts, including the $65 million+ takeovers by Chemical Venture Partners and Apollo Advisors of Gerber Products Co.’s Buster Brown subsidiary, the acquisition by Castle Harlan Inc. of MAG Aerospace Industries Inc. from Vestar Capital Partners Inc., and Chemical Venture Partners purchase of Chiquita Brands International’s Speciality Meat Group.
Selig joined UBS in 1994 as head of its financial sponsor group as co-head of mergers and acquisitions, and moved to Société Generale in 1998 before landing at Banc of America Securities in 1999, rising to global head of mergers and acquisitions, vice chairman of global investment banking and, in 2009, executive vice chairman of global corporate and investment banking for Bank of America.,
Selig’s work included the initial public offering of Re/Max real estate brokers and the sale of Yankee Candle to Jarden Corp.
Shortly after Selig’s original nomination to the Commerce post, there was some controversy around a $9 million bonus he received upon leaving the bank. Many banks do offer such bonuses to senior executives leaving for high government or regulatory posts.
Selig is expected to continue helping the United States negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact. The deal is controversial for several reasons, including the fact that it contains provisions that would empower corporations to sue governments to demand compensation for laws and regulations they claim undermine their interests.
Selig is married to Heidi Selig. and he previously sat on the board of New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
White House Names Senior Bank of America Executive to Commerce Post (by Peter Lattman, New York Times)
Obama Admin’s TPP Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses From Big Banks (by Lee Fang, Republic Report)
Obama’s Secret International Trade Treaty Caving on Environmental Protections (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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